The Supreme Court has allowed Vedanta's Sterlite Industries in Tamil Nadu's Tuticorin to reopen its oxygen production plant. A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud on Tuesday said that allowing Vedanta to operate its oxygen plant would not create any equity in favour of company.
The court added that Vedanta shall not enter, operate copper smelting plant under garb of the latest order. The copper unit was sealed by the state government in May 2018, days after 13 agitators were killed in police firing during a violent anti-Sterlite protest in the southern district.
The bench also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat said that the order has been passed in view of "national need" for oxygen. The top court added there should be no political bickering over the generation of oxygen by Vedanta as the country is facing a national crisis.
The court also asked Tamil Nadu to form a panel, including the district collector and th Tuticorin superintendent of police, to monitor activities at Vedanta’s oxygen plant.
During the course of hearing today, senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for Vedanta in the Supreme Court, said that Sterlite's only oxygen plant will reopen and not the power plant. He told the court that electricity will be provided by the state for oxygen generation.
The bench asked when can Vedanta start the oxygen plant. To this, Salve replied: "We can start producing oxygen in maybe 10 days".
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea seeking reopening of Vedanta's Sterlite plant for production of medical oxygen to be used for treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Earlier on Monday, an all-party meeting convened by the Tamil Nadu government resolved to allow Vedanta's Sterlite Industries to produce oxygen for a four-month period amid surging covid cases. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister K Palaniswami.